How do I train Java to know her left and her right?
I taught Bess to turn Left when I whistled (just with my mouth) one longer whistle of a medium pitch and to turn right at a higher pitched 2 short quick notes. As I recall, she learned this quite fast. Bess would rather retrieve than eat -- and she was a glutton. I trained her by sending her into a pond and then slinging the Training Dummy to retrieve. When she was swimming away from me, I'd sling the TD either to her Right or Left and give the appropriate signal just before it splashed. After a bit of practice, I could send her in then give commands, say, to turn R, L, L, R, R, R, L and she'd do it (then I'd splash the TD in front of her). When children watched her do this, they'd often call her the "Wonder Dog." I paired these commands with arm signals (when I was visible to Bess) and she followed these commands, either tones or visual cues, equally well.
But Puff? We've been working on this for over 7 years and she still only very faintly -- sometimes -- gets a first turn correct. And I've long abandoned using whistle tones and instead just shout "Left" or "Right."
The difference? I think it's that Puff doesn't have the life or death type motivation to retrieve that Bess did. Retrieving is something that Puff does because I trained her to do it but, if she catches scent of an interesting smell on the way to or back with the TD, she may drop it to investigate the scent further until she responds to my demands to pick the TD up and bring it to me.
Puff comes out of a long line of HT & FT AKC Labs and I'm pretty sure her kin are trained to retrieve using Force Fetch techniques which I don't use. And Bess's era was before the split of Labs into a bench/show line and a field line. All through Bess's life, I didn't realize Labs had any color other than black, I never saw a Lab of any other color, and none of the books on Labs I read ever described any color other than black.
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 08-26-2009 at 03:52 PM. Reason: addition of more information
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
We train in agility, and rights and lefts are important.
Peanut is much farther along than Baloo and knows this fairly well, such that I can now pair them with obstacles and she is very accurate. "left, tunnel!" means turn left and go into the tunnel, "right, over!" means turn right and take that jump.
We taught it in class using a single jump. We'd stand with them and send them over the jump and stand out to the direction we were working and call them, when they turned in the desired direction after the jump to return to us we'd click. After a few repetitions we'd add "right" or "left", clicking as soon as they had committed to the turn.
We did about 10 repetitions per direction at first (few weeks), making the choice very easy for the dog. After that we'd stand on the other side, start playing with angles and distance, etc. It's a hard concept for them to learn (heck, I have trouble with rights and lefts sometimes!) but it is definitely possible.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
Sally on the other hand moves faster than light and having a right and left is very helpful with her
Unlike Kate we started on the flat - rewarding small moves of her head right eventually putting it on cue - then once one way was solid putting left in place
when she's lying down you can ask Sally to look right or left and she will - of course being Sally sometimes she leaps up and spins in the correct direction like a top til you click or mark her ..
I must say we had a staff talent show aat my school a couple of years ago and Sally knowing right and left is the thing that ASTOUNDED the students - they call me master teacher
Last edited by brody; 08-26-2009 at 05:59 PM. Reason: adding talent show info
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller
Mushers teach Gee and Haw for right and left - and probably the ability to control their direction with the harnesses helps.
I would think hand signals would be as effective as verbal for this command.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
hunting dogs are commonly taught left and right. Often with a whistle sit then a hand signal for back, back left, back right, right, left some people use a simple command of over along with the hand signal while others use words like gee and haw or the words left and right. I am convinced that dogs can be taught to take direction with words alone. but hand signals refinforce the words.